FBI and NSA Work Together on Counter-Hacking According to Snowden

obrBy Denise Sullivan — Last Updated: 05 Jun'15 2015-06-05T12:12:29+00:00Google+

New information is still coming from Edward Snowden and his files. Now the government whistle blower has released documents showing how closely the NSA and the FBI are working together in creating a new surveillance operation to keep track of foreign hackers.


The FBI has been known to conduct electronic surveillance without the help of an outside source. However, all of these reconnaissance ventures were on domestic targets. In order to expand their investigation to control criminals who may be hacking into US systems from overseas, the operation contacted the NSA in 2011.

FBI and NSA Work to Get Hackers

What the FBI needed from the spy agency was use of the infrastructure that was built to monitor terrorist communications. However, despite using NSA technology, observations are being made solely by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


In the end, it was more cost effective to utilize the existing infrastructure created by the NSA than for the FBI to create one that was solely their own.

Of course, the surveillance would have to consist of more than just basic law enforcement investigation without a warrant. That is why any agents from the spy agency would be looking for “intrusion capabilities,” which is a specific type of hacking tool known as a foreign hacker tool.

Frightening Prospect Could be Good Thing

It might sound like scary to have one of the US’s biggest investigative units collaborating with the ever-ominous spy group, but it might be a good thing according to Richard Bejtlich, Chief Security Strategist for FireEye.

“It’s good that there’s an agency that’s trying to notice when data is being stolen so they can do something about it.”

With the FBI trying to crack down on the foreign hackers, patterns could be established and possible targets would be more easily identified. Under current statues, the investigative agency does not have to have the name of a potential hacker in order to monitor his/her activity. However, they do have to have proof the alleged intruder is connected to a foreign government.


The cooperative agreement between the FBI and NSA is designed to target outside threats and is not intended to keep surveillance on US citizens. That is the job of the FBI only.

Still not sure if the operation between the two groups is a good idea? Let us know what you think.

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